Monday 24 October 2016

Gavin slams over anxious testers

Dublin boss irked that players were denied celebrations in dressing-room by testers

Dublin manager Jim Gavin (SPORTSFILE)
Dublin manager Jim Gavin (SPORTSFILE)

Jim Gavin has clarified his issue with doping controls after last week's league final, specifying that the timing of the tests had contradicted the Irish Sports Council's own policies, adding that the testers had been "a little bit over anxious," in their approach.

Gavin took umbrage with the immediacy of timing of what he felt was "an invasive procedure" taking place "in the dungeons of the stadium, being closed off and they didn't have access to the (post match) entertainment," after last Sunday week's win over Kerry.

It is understood that two Dublin players; Eoghan O'Gara and Michael Savage, and two Kerry players, were randomly chosen to produce urine samples.


As per paragraph 2 of the Doping Control Procedures in the GAA's Anti-Doping Booklet, "once notified, a player must report immediately to the Doping Control Station in the company of the Doping Control Officer...where testing is being carried out at a game, the following additional reasons to delay reporting to the Doping Control Station also apply: Participation in a victory ceremony (or) Media commitments."

Gavin argued that a victory ceremony didn't conclude once the player had left the pitch.

"My issue at the time was the doping control officer should have waited until the player came back in from that (Dublin's post-match celebrations)," he specified at yesterday's launch of this year's Leinster senior football and hurling championships.

"Because once he makes contact for the player, the player has to go to that doping control centre.

"I'm not going to let my players be in breach of the protocols. The point is that the doping control officer shouldn't approach the player until all that is over.

"And then let him enjoy his post-match dealing with defeat or victory or those special times when you can have a little time with players, where you can soak in that atmosphere.

"Those precious couple of moments after a game.

"Once that is over, then approach the player. Then go through the protocols.

"But not when a player walks down the tunnel after a game and the emotions haven't probably even left him."

Dr Úna May, Director of the Irish Sports Council anti-doping unit, responded to Gavin's initial claims, revealing that "in advance of the testing, we had agreed with the GAA if the players wanted to watch the Laochra festivities they would be accommodated and they would just be supervised during the time."

"We recognised the Laochra event was something the players might want to watch and we didn't want to have them miss that opportunity.

"We didn't get any post-test report to say there was any issue or anything like that."


She added: "and when we read about a team getting frustrated with the testing we don't tend to react too strongly because it is frustrating (for them) especially when they miss out on celebrations."

However, Gavin stressed that his problem was with procedure - or what he saw as a contradiction of it - which outlines that once a player is chosen for testing, he or she must either immediately report to the testing centre or remain under monitor by the testing officer.

"It's just about the right place at the right time. We fully endorse all that's been done by the National Sports Council," the Dublin manager insisted.

"We don't want cheats in the game. We want the integrity of the game to be upheld.

"There's probably not enough testing, if you look at the statistics," Gavin continued.

"The amount of inter-county players being tested, it's a very, very small percentage.

"But that's not this debate. My issue is with the timing of it.

"Let a player have their space for a few moments and then approach them.

"I understand they have a job to do," Gavin added. "But they may be a little bit over anxious to do it."

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